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4 Sep, 2019 10:04

Hong Kong’s leader to withdraw extradition bill, but protesters demand more

Hong Kong’s leader to withdraw extradition bill, but protesters demand more

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has officially announced she is withdrawing the earlier-suspended extradition bill that sparked massive protests and riots in the city. Some protesters are already saying it’s ‘too little, too late.’

“The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” Lam said in a televised speech on Wednesday.

The bill, that would have allowed criminal suspects to be brought from Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory, to mainland China for trial, has led to massive protests which spiraled into rioting and violent clashes with police. The protesters occupied several buildings, including the city’s parliament, and disrupted operations at Hong Kong airport.

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The protests were openly endorsed by officials and high-profile politicians in the US and some other Western countries. China blasted this input as an effort to incite more anti-Beijing rioting in Hong Kong.

Although Lam had previously said that the extradition bill was effectively “dead,” the protesters did not relent, as their demands grew to include calls for a broader political reform.

Protesters are calling for rallies to continue despite the bill’s cancellation. “Too little and too late now,” prominent activist and secretary general of the opposition group Demosisto, Joshua Wong, tweeted. He says “police brutality” has left “an irreversible scar” on Hong Kong society, adding that people “would not believe” the announcement of withdrawal is sincere.

Emboldened protesters have now expanded their list of demands to include four more: a public probe into the actions of police, not designating the clashes as riots, amnesty for the arrested protesters, and electoral reform.

Leung Yiu Ting, the head of the Hong Kong Education University’s student union, said the protests will not stop a “until the five demandsre met.” Opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo stressed the “damage is [already] done,” so axing the controversial bill alone is not enough to end the rallies.

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